MOSCOW – With an agreement to let Russian ships dock in Cyprus, President Vladimir Putin said he will help the crisis-struck island with additional aid.
“Russia will continue to provide assistance to Cyprus in liquidating the aftermath of the debt crisis,” Putin said after meeting visiting Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, whose country had been accused of being a haven for Russia’s wealthy and laundered cash.
Russia has already given Cyprus a €2.5 billion stabilization loan on favorable terms, Putin noted, said Russia Today, which reported on the deals being made in Moscow, including Anastasiades’ agreement to let Russian naval ships dock in Cyprus, giving Putin’s Navy more of a reach in the Mediterranean.
Russia’s VTB Capital investment bank and the Cyprus Finance Ministry successfully placed Cypriot sovereign Eurobonds worth €750 million for the first time since the crisis, Putin said.
“We think that consequently Russia has contributed and continues to contribute to the normalization of the situation in the eurozone after the difficult 2011-2012 period,” Putin said. That came before falling oil prices and European Union sanctions on Russia for its support of separatists in Ukraine hurt the economy.
Cyprus doesn’t favor the sanctions and Anastasiades said they are hurting the EU, which relies on much of its energy from Russia.
For the last two years, Cyprus has been relying on a 10 billion euro bailout from the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) to save its banks and economy from near collapse caused by bad loans to failed Greek businesses and big losses incurred when Greece stiffed investors and bond holders with 74 percent losses.
Russia has invested $33 billion in Cyprus, which is more than 80 percent of all foreign investment in the country, the Russian President said. Cyprus has invested $65 billion in the Russian economy.
The two sides expressed their confidence that joint efforts can boost mutual trade, RT said. Trade between the two countries declined in 2014, mainly due to the downturn in oil prices, the EU sanctions against Russia and Russia’s response, according to Putin.
However, he said he’s certain that, “joint consistent efforts would help in mending of the situation and returning bilateral trade to the growth path.”